Rep. Kamlager-Dove celebrates 50 years of hip-hop on anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death

“Hip-hop talks about how we like to forget about the poor [and] the hypocrisy of the government -- so why not celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop?” said Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove of California.

U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., held a press conference this week to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop.

“Let’s honor the incredible movement and music and economic juggernaut that is hip-hop,” Kamlager-Dove told theGrio.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25: U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA) speaks at a press conference following a House Democratic Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 25, 2023 in Washington, DC. Kamlager-Dove spoke on the need to protect abortion rights. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“This is about education. This is about a celebration of culture, and this is about the continuation of a movement.”

The freshman congresswoman decided to recognize the 50th anniversary of hip-hop on the 27th death anniversary of rapper Tupac Shakur, who hailed from her state.

“I think it’s important that we allow a day like this to celebrate Tupac Shakur because over 20 years ago, this would not have happened,” said Kamlager-Dove. “When hip-hop just started, folks were trying to arrest hip-hop artists.”

Reflecting on the current state of music, she said, “Now we have folks trying to steal from our hip-hop artists. So, let’s celebrate the icons that created the movement.”

Kamlager-Dover said this is also a time to “speak to the need to solve [Tupac Shakur’s] case” and “bring closure to a family and industry I think is still dealing with the after-effects of his murder.”

Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

During Thursday’s press conference, the California lawmaker was joined by Reps. Nikema Williams, D-Ga., Robin Kelly, D-Ill., Cori Bush, D-Mo., and Shakur’s sister Sekyiwa “Set” Shakur.

In July, Kamlager-Dove introduced a resolution to honor the 50th anniversary of hip-hop on Aug. 11, 2023, as theGrio previously reported.

She told theGrio at the time, “It’s important now more than ever to preserve hip-hop because we see Governor ‘De-Crazy’ [Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis] and others trying to ban books, take them out of places where young people can learn the importance of hip-hop.” 

She added the “time is now” to preserve the art form. “Hip-hop tells an alternative story of folks who have felt marginalized and oftentimes, erased or forgotten,” said the congresswoman.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., co-sponsored the resolution. 

In July, Bowman told theGrio, “Hip-hop needs its own Hall of Fame and it needs its own Library of Congress.” 

“It’s essential to preserve,” he said. “Hip-Hop is my culture. It’s the culture that raised me. It’s the culture that inspired me. It gave me knowledge of self. It taught me politics and so much of what my work in Congress is rooted in.”

Toward the conclusion of Thursday’s press conference, Kamlager-Dove shared a message to Republicans in Congress who are in opposition of her efforts to recognize the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

“Here we are dealing with a bogus impeachment inquiry that’s about to start” and a “government shutdown” instead of “trying to help people,” she told theGrio.

“Hip-hop talks about how we like to forget about the poor [and] the hypocrisy of the government. Only looking to save a few and not addressing the needs of the many,” she added. “So why not celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop?”

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